Alfred Edward GABY VC

Poppy

GABY, Alfred Edward

Service Number: 4053
Enlisted: 6 January 1916, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 28th Infantry Battalion
Born: Scottsdale, Tasmania, Australia, 25 January 1892
Home Town: Nyabing, Kent Shire, Western Australia
Schooling: Jetsonville State School and Scottsdale State School, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Framerville, France, 11 August 1918, aged 26 years
Cemetery: Heath Cemetery
Plot V. E. 14.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Burnie War Memorial, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Nyabing Honour Rolls, Scottsdale Municipality Pictorial HR, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

6 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4053, Blackboy Hill, Western Australia
1 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4053, 28th Infantry Battalion
1 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4053, 28th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Fremantle
26 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 28th Infantry Battalion
8 Aug 1918: Honoured Victoria Cross, Amiens, "For most conspicuous bravery and dash in attack, when, on reaching the wire in front of an enemy trench, strong opposition was encountered. The advance was at once checked, the enemy being in force about forty yards beyond the wire, and commanding the gap with machine guns and rifles. Lt. Gaby found another gap in the wire, and, single-handed, approached the strong point while machine guns and rifles were still being fired from it. Running along the parapet, still alone, and at point-blank range, he emptied his revolver into the garrison, drove the crews from their guns, and compelled the surrender of fifty of the enemy with four machine guns. He then quickly re-organised his men and led them on to his final objective, which he captured and consolidated. Three days later, during an attack, this officer again led his company with great dash to the objective. The enemy brought heavy rifle and machine-gun fire to bear upon the line, but in the face of this heavy fire Lt. Gaby walked along his line of posts, encouraging his men to quickly consolidate. While enaged on this duty he was killed by an enemy sniper."

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Biography

"LIEUT. A. E. GABY, V.C. A STOWPORT HERO TASMANIA'S 10TH V.C.

LONDON, Wednesday. — A London 'Gazette' announces that the Victoria Cross has been awarded to Lieutenant Alfred E. Gaby, 28th Batt., son of Mr. Alfred Gaby, Natone, Tasmania. Lieut. Gaby was killed in action in France on August 11. The official record of the deeds for which Lieut. Gaby was awarded the V.C. is as follows:—

When the attack which Lieut. Gaby was leading reached the wire in front of the enemy trenches, strong opposition was encountered from the enemy, 40 yards distant. Lieut. Gaby found a gap in the wire and approached a strong point single handed, despite machine gun and rifle fire. Lieut. Gaby, running along the parapet alone, emptied his revolver point blank, and drove the crews from their guns. He compelled 40 Germans to surrender with four machine guns. Three days later Lieut. Gaby was killed during an attack by a sniper while walking along the line posts, encouraging his men to consolidate quickly.

Lieut. Gaby is the 10th Tasmanian to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the present war, the others being Lieut. Colonel H. W. Murray (who enlisted in West Australia, and has also received the D.S.O. and a bar, and the D.C.M.) ; Captain J. E. Newland: the late Captain P. H. Cherry. M.C. ; Sergeant J. W. Whittle, D.C.M. ; 2nd Lieut. J. J. Dwyer; the late Sergeant Lewis McGee; Sergeant S. R. McDougall, M.M. ; Ser- geant. W. E. Brown, D.C.M. and bar (enlisted in New South Wales) ; and Sergeant Percy Clyde Statton." - from the North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times 01 Nov 1918 (nla.gov.au) (nla.gov.au)

 

"A BRAVE AUSTRALIAN. Lieut. A. E. Gaby V. C. (By G.S.S.)

The newest Westralian V.C., is Lieut. A. E. Gaby, of the 28th Battalion. The regrettable news ot his death came to hand a few weeks ago, but it will now be a matter of intense satisfaction and pleasure to his many friends to know that this sterling fellow, so quietly and consistently brave, so sincere in all his work, has been posthumously awarded the bronze cross.

Lieut. Gaby left this State in March, 1916, as a sergeant with the 10th Reinforcements of the 28th Battalion, joined the battalion in time for Pozieres, and had practically remained with the unit since that date. Phenomenal luck seems to have followed him, for many of his confreres and the officers of his reinforcements were soon numbered among the casualties. His commission came early in 1917, and during the fighting at Malt Trench and elsewhere in March and April he did splendid work. The Ypres operations towards the close of the year found him still in the front, and the record continues thus right up to his death. Quiet-spoken, sincere, hard-working, modest are but a few of the attributes of an excellent soldier. The battalion is proud indeed to have such a fine fellow with so fine a record, and none but the very deepest of sympathy is felt for all those personal friends and relatives who mourn their loss." - from the Perth Sunday Times 03 Nov 1918 (nla.gov.au) (nla.gov.au)

 

"BURNIE

Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Gaby, of Natone, are in receipt of a message of Royal sympathy in the death of their son, Lieut. A. E. Gaby, V.C., in the service of his country. A letter from a commanding officer says:-

"Your son's name as a soldier and leader will never be forgotten by his battalion. He did extraordinarily good work at Morlancourt and at Villiers Bretonneux, where he was killed on August 8."

Two other sons served the Empire. One returned, the other is on active service." - from the Launceston Examiner 11 Nov 1918 (nla.gov.au) (nla.gov.au)

 

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout, Australia and NZ in WWI group

Today,under the sun of the Somme which comes to light up the old battlefields on which the remembrance poppies still bloom, I would like, with gratitude, to pay a very respectful tribute to Lieutenant Alfred Edward Gaby who was awarded the Victoria Cross, he fought in the 28th Australian Infantry Battalion and was killed in action 102 years ago on August 11, 1918 at the age of 26 on the Somme front.

Alfred Edward Gaby was born January 25, 1892 in Springfield, near Ringarooma, Tasmania and was the seventh son of Alfred Gaby who was a farmer and Adelaide Gaby (née Whiteway). He was educated at Jetsonville State School and Scottsdale State School and worked on the family farm after leaving school. He then spent some time in southern Tasmania and lived in Nyabing, Kent Shire, Western Australia. While working on his father's farm he had joined the militia and served for three years with the 12th Infantry Battalion (Launceston Regiment) and two of his elder brothers fought during the South African War.

Before the outbreak of World War I Gaby followed one of his brothers to Western Australia where he worked as a labourer at Katanning. On 6 January 1916, after having been twice rejected for active service, he enlisted the Australian Imperial Force as a private, and after training at Blackboy Hill camp was posted to the 10th reinforcements of the 28th Battalion. He sailed on the troopship Ulysses in April and joined his battalion in France on 6 August.

Alfred was promoted corporal on October 28 and sergeant on March 13, 1917. On April 7 he was commissioned second lieutenant and promoted lieutenant on September 26. On October 29, he was gassed in Belgium and evacuated to the 3rd London General Hospital, England. He was not fit enough to rejoin the 28th Battalion in France until May 7, 1918.

On August 8,1918, the first day of the Battle of Amiens, Gaby was acting D Company commander and showed conspicuous bravery and dash in leading and reorganizing his company when it was held up by barbed wire entanglements. He found a gap in the wire and alone approached an enemy strong point. He then ran along the parapet at point blank range and emptied his revolver into the garrison driving the crews from their guns and forcing the surrender of 50 men with four machine guns. He reorganized his men and led them on to the final objective which was captured and consolidated.

Unfortunately, two days later, On 10 August 1918 in another attack near Lihons, Somme, during which he again showed bravery and coolness in engaging an enemy machine-gun position, and while encouraging his men in the face of heavy enemy fire he was killed by an enemy sniper.

Lieutenant Alfred Edward Gaby was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously and in recording his death the war diary of the 28th Battalion paid special tribute to this gallant officer.
Today Lieutenant Alfred Edward Gaby rests in peace with his men and brothers in arms at Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "He died that others may live".

Today, the Victoria Cross, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19 of Lieutenant Gaby are held by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery,Hobart.

Alfred, you who rest today among your friends and brothers in arms, here on the sacred lands on which so much blood was shed, today the poppies still bloom on the old trenches which were, in the past, devastated , bombarded day and night under a hellfire, under the infernal whistling of the shells which turned the green and peaceful fields into fields of death and mud under the dark clouds of war, it is here in these fields that you have heroically fought, braving machine gun fire and bullets, rifle in hand, bayonet forward, running with your men who advanced with their faith in god and the love they had in their hearts for their families and for their country , these were for many their last thoughts, the only light of love and hope to face the darkness of the wars, these men had the honor and, I am sure, the very great pride to serve and to fight with a man as brave as you Alfred.you fought beyond the bravery which animated your heart, inspiring courage and admiration in the hearts and in the eyes of your men and it is by encouraging your men one last time that you fell, your acts of bravery were honored with the respect and honors you deserve.Today, the trenches, the battlefields have disappeared to give way to fields of flowers and to the poppies that spread their petals in harmony filling the old battlefields with a infinite peace but your memory and the memory of your men will never disappear just as these flowers will never wither on your lighted graves under the peaceful sun of the Somme, in the light, in our hearts and in our thoughts you will never cease to live , your souls are always present among us, in these cemeteries in which you rest and in the fields in which so many men were not found, you will always be with us to inspire us just as you have inspired your men, we will always honor your memory with the greatest respect, you will never be forgotten, guardian of your graves,I am proud and always happy and moved to be with you and I will always be there for you, I will always watch over each of you with respect and love, with gratitude and I will always do my best to make the world and future generations will know who you were and what you did, brave young men, my boys of the Somme.thank you Alfred, with all my heart.At the going down of the sun and in the Morning,we will remember him,we will remember them🌺

François Berthout is a Frenchman who lives in Amiens, France.  He takes photos of the graves and writes about ANZACs who paid the supreme sacrifice during WWI. François'  purpose is to honour these men and women so the current generations of Australians can remember those who valliantly served our nation but did not return. (E Evans 11/8/2020)

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